Cattiness online

Demi Moore tweeted this pic of still slamming body at age 47Recently, the actress Demi Moore tweeted a picture of herself in a bikini. I think she looked fabulous. The tweet followed nasty, but predictable rumours that her much younger husband, Ashton Kutcher, had cheated on her with a starlet. Are the two actions connected? I have no idea. But the insults and snide remarks that followed Demi Moore’s bikini tweet were downright nasty and sadly predictable.

Joan Rivers, who I respect for her fabulous career and work ethic, remarked how Moore was too old for such antics. Rivers also tossed in an aside about how Goldie Hawn, now a stunning 60ish woman, should now come “sit in the shade” with Rivers. A few other so-called fashion commentators on the E! network’s The Fashion Police show made similar nasty comments. Considering how fabulous Demi looked, and that movie stars are not known for being shy and retiring, this is just pure cattiness directed at an attractive woman.
Several articles in major newspapers had similar disparaging comments. It struck me that over the years that as often as Demi Moore has been lauded for her age-defying body, she has also been slammed for it. She has been accused of plastic surgery that would have been impossible. The scars would have been visible even with the best work. When she worked out to reshape her body for the movies GI Jane, Striptease, and Charlie’s Angels, and she was criticized for both the time and money she spent to do it. No one complains about the time and money professional athletes spend for their training. Isn’t Demi Moore entitled to invest in her career and train for her multi-million dollar roles?
I find Demi and Goldie inspiring. I think it’s great they take such good care of themselves and look so healthy and happy. I remember them as younger women; I used to watch Goldie on the iconic comedy show Laugh-In when I was in school and I remember Demi on the soap General Hospital at the beginning of her career. I feel as though I grew up with them. Unlike some young starlets today, I don’t remember them running around town without lingerie, drugged-up, or drunk.
Yet they are targets for envy and cattiness. And it isn’t just famous women who come in for this treatment. A truly gorgeous young friend of mine has also been attacked by other women. She is movie-star beautiful, and occasionally a tiny bit heavier than she would like to be. Recently, her boyfriend’s  friend’s girlfriend attacked her publicly. She stated that my friend would never be with her the boyfriend — a person of a different race — if she were thinner. In one fell swoop she exposed herself as a hater, and insulted my friend and her partner. She said this publicly at party without embarrassment because we allow it. Somehow it has become acceptable to behave badly, especially towards other women. I find it ironic that as women gain education and power in the workplace, we still tacitly condone high school *ithchiness.
I am even more shocked when women my age do it. Recently, I was surprised to be the target of this type of behavior on facebook. A high school friend posted an old photo of several us: himself, me, and two other (male) friends. I thought it was a charming memory of all of us at a party and so did he. I was wearing a cute black dress, pearls, and smoky eye make-up. My hair was long, my head thrown back in laughter, and I was holding a glass of white wine. This picture could be me — with slight changes – at any time during my adult life.  
Rocky Horror Picture Show-- the exact character the lady comapred me to --Does anyone see a tasteful black dress and pearls?In no time at all one of his female friends likened me – and not nicely– to a character in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Charming. In her remarks she also had assumed my friend and I had dated. On the FB page of my other old friend in the picture, his ‘lovely’ friend accused him of having “slutty taste” in high school. Again, charming.
What is up with these so-called ladies and friends? What’s with the name-calling and assumptions? Who does this? These women are supposed to be educated professionals. In the photo, I wore pearls and a cute black knee-length dress with no décolleté. I still remember it, and would wear it today. Several of my friends, all different ages, have mentioned (unsolicited) that they would too. I do have on serious smoky eye make-up, not unlike what Kim Kardashian wears for an evening out. I think it is fabulous. I still like a good smoky eye and I was at a party with friends, but if that makes you a slut or a candidate for a horror movie, heaven help us all.
I think the assumption both women made was telling. There are four people in the photo. No one is snuggly. We were and are just friends. Do some women just have to strike out at any woman they don’t know, or who they perceive as different or threat – even one from years ago? Do they think it makes it makes them look clever or more attractive?  I don’t.
I exchanged a few comments with the woman who called me a horror movie character. My remarks were quite harmless, I simply expressed surprised that my friend had such a lovely friend. I wish I hadn’t, as it may have been awkward for our mutual friend. She caught me off guard. Her comments were actually posted as I sat happily looking at FB one Saturday morning.
I know why I reacted as I did; she tarnished a pleasant memory. I enjoy that so many of my old high school friends stay in touch. I like it that they grew up to be such nice generous people. High school was neither the nadir nor pinnacle of our lives. It was what it was supposed to be, a good time with good friends. As for the catty women and their comments, I actually couldn’t care less. I think they both looked bad, catty, mean and *itchy.
Another friend, a young, generous, and stunning woman, has also been the target of catty women. Her grandmother warned her about them. She told her it’s hard to have friends when you are beautiful. I think it is sad, but it seems that some women do like to take a shot women they perceive as a threat.
And it’s not just looks that attract the claws. Attacks happen at work too. Last year a sweet, smart woman I know was bullied to tears by her mean-girl boss. I often warn friends who are writers or artists that as helpful as a good reader or editor can be, throw their work out for random comments. I think one needs to choose one’s readers carefully during the creative process. Envy, even the unconscious kind, is rife in the creative community.
Learn to surround yourself with people who inspire you and elevate your life. I am inspired by my friends. I adore their beauty and creativity. I see it even when they don’t. Isn’t that what friends are for? I will never tweet a picture of myself in a bikini, but Demi in hers looked fabulous. She inspires me to work out a little harder and longer, so thanks Demi! And it will pay off when I am photographed in another of my “scandalous “ black dresses”.  Never let anyone tell you — at any age – to sit in the shade. 
PS: Darlings, I’d share the picture that caused all the hullabaloo, but it’s not mine and I don’t want cause any trouble for the others in it.

The dreaded schadenbitch

Envy seems to be at the heart of most schadenbitchesAre you inspired by your friend’s success? Do you like to surround yourself with brilliant successful women? I do. Or, my darlings, are you affected by the current wave of schadenbitch? I’ve seen this new disturbing term recently and it struck a chord. I have always been a fan of the word schadenfruden. It so adeptly describes a behaviour I deplore – relishing the misfortune of others. I find it despicable and tiresome. I live by the adage that if I serve someone up as dinner conversation, she will serve me up for dessert when I am not around. If you believe otherwise, you are dangerously naïve.

Some women boast they are “a man’s woman” or “one of boys” – and by that they don’t mean tomboys or sports-lovers. These wannabe queen bees eschew the company of women for men. They are often dismissive and nasty to those of their own sex. Ironically, they are often not any more popular with most men than they are they are with women. Men don’t trust their hostility towards their own. Unless they infiltrate a group of men attached to their brothers or use some other camouflage, they are most likely not welcome.
What perplexes me are women who are threatened by their friends’s accomplishments. A woman I was close to for a while, another writer, became upset when anyone she knew got a book contract or won an award. She had published her own book and done well with it. I never understood why she was this way. She could never be happy for the other person or inspired to work harder. This envy permeated her life in other areas too. She envied attractive people and those she perceived to have successful relationships. It is hard to think of much she didn’t envy.
Another woman I know runs through friends quickly. She too is afflicted by the green-eye monster. She has a laundry list of complaints against others, and how they have slighted her. She imagines others have stolen her ideas or insulted her. No matter what job, assignment, or luck comes her way, the plums always go to others.  
Women like this may attain some professional success. The two women I mentioned are bright and talented, but will never attain the success and fulfillment they would if they didn’t have such toxic habits.
Another friend is a young woman already making a splash in a glamorous profession. She works 24/7 and still has a way to go before she makes the big bucks, but she has made a great start in a tough business. She has noticed some her friends are not thrilled with her success. It hurts.
I understand how she feels and have encouraged her to wait it out. But in the end she will need to find friends who enjoy her success. I have had similar experiences. I will never forget one older friend who had always told me to “do more” professionally. When I returned from Russia after being part of the launch team of Russian Vogue, she was quite mean about the new direction my career had taken. She made cutting remarks. I was shocked. Eventually, we both moved on. Now, I think I understand how she felt, but I think she made a mistake in how she reacted. She had married a very successful older man, raised four children, and did lot of charity work. That was how we met. She is bright and ambitious. She had planned to do many exciting things when he retired. That did not happen. She tried a career cooking, something she is good at it, but she didn’t get far with it. I suspect her husband had different plans and wanted a quieter life. She could have opted to get some support for her dreams from her friends. I would have given it, unquestioningly. That is my style. It is how my friends operate.
I don’t understand women who don’t cherish their close women friends. My friends have always been a great source of support, love, and pure enjoyment. I relish their company and can’t imagine life without them. 
I love the sound of their voices, their laughter, and even their quirks. I have always taken great pride in their accomplishments.  I think of them as a string of highly-polished jewels –each one precious, rare, and treasured.
We can get on get on each other nerves at times. But the wonderful thing about maintaining friendships over the years is the way the edges get smoothed away.
Some friendships have not stood the test of time, but that too is often for the best.
The friends I have made and kept over the years have shared this same excitement at meeting a new talented friend. We delight in the process of discovery and celebrate accomplishment!
Darlings, look to other women as source of inspiration! Glory in their accomplishments. Your friends will sustain you over the years. And whatever you do, avoid the dreaded schadenbitches and their toxic behaviour.